My Mother’s Spirit – revisited
I still love this photo and the short poem below about my Mother (Eileen). She died in 1999 following a brain hemorrhage that was too much to overcome, given her post-polio problems and other physical ailments.
Mother looked nothing like the woman in the photo above with this exception: She never gave up. Eileen loved her favorite bright red winter coat. She also loved playing the piano, cooking with next to nothing in the larder, turning small bits of this and that into a miraculous feast. She also served as a lifeguard at swimming pools, and was like a child who always loved to sing and play games with her daughters and the neighborhood kids.
Still, she and I didn’t get to know each other from the inside out until late in her life. Her extrovert and my introvert rarely seemed to come together–except when one or both of us sat down to play the piano.
After my 1993 meeting with my parents, we managed to stay in touch. It wasn’t easy at first, but slowly we began to see each other from a different point of view. When she had her last stroke and was taken to the hospital and then hospice care, I began to understand how lonely her life had become, and how much she loved the music that tied us together.
Here’s the poem I wrote several years ago. It goes with the photo above, and still makes me tear up.
My mother’s spirit
came calling last night
I saw her footprints
in this morning’s snow
precise and measured
She passed quietly
beneath my window
step by small-hooved step
down the driveway
before crossing over
into the woods beyond
our house asleep
Thank you for stopping by today. This world continues to be very harsh toward women, especially during times of disorder and disarray. Mother’s Day gives us another opportunity to appreciate what it takes, especially in these troubled times, to carry on as a mother in the midst of chaos.
© Elouise Renich Fraser, 13 May 2023
Photo found at fiftiness.com